Posted on 02/11/2008. By Pete Otaqui.
We’ve had a fair old time sorting out my employment pass and Laura’s dependent’s pass.
First off, and this is worth noting, you absolutely need hard copies of any qualification certificates – Education, Degree, professional, etc – on which you are basing your application. I stupidly did not properly sort this out before I left, so had to wait for a copy of my degree certificate to follow me out here.
The process is actually fairly simple once you have all your documents in place. You fill out a form about yourself and the company, and then submit it along with copies of your passport and other documents at an post office. It’s worth noting that you should *keep a copy of the application form*.
Once that’s done, you will be able to check the status of the aplication online. You will need a Singapore ID number to use the online service, so you may need your employer to do the checking for you.
After a while (actually only a couple of weeks for me) your AIP (Agreement In Principle) letter is sent out to the company. This document will contain your new FIN (Singapore ID number for foreigners) which you need for all sorts of things like your landlord, the utility company, your broadband / tv / phone provider, etc, etc.
They can then take this along with your passport and a signed medical declaration that you don’t have HIV or hepatitis (you just need to sign this, no medical examination is required) to the Ministry of Manpower . If you submit the documents before 2pm on any day, you will get them – along with your new Employment Pass – the same day. The Pass is not the most grand affair in the world, and in fact informs you that it should be kept with your Passport at all times, since other than the FIN number it states, it’s other function is to allow entry to and exit from the country.
Now to the second slight hiccup in our plans. When completing the EP application form you are required to list the details of any dependents who will be joining you (at the time only Laura – we will have 40 days after our child is born to register them) which I did. The form did *not* explain that you also have to fill out a separate application for the dependent, so we’ve only realised this now that my pass hass arrived. This has meant that, while I can now stay for two years, Laura’s visa will probably expire before we get her pass sorted out! Fortunately we’re planning a few days in Malaysia, so we’ll be doing the required “leave and come back” thing but it’s all a little annoying.
There are two ways to apply for a DP – you can submit the documents by hand at the MoM, or you can do it online. The former has a considerable delay compared to the latter (5 weeks and 7 days respectively). However, to submit online you need a SingPass (which you can get from all Community Centres) and you have to wait a while (I’ve been told 10 days) after your get your EP before you can get one of these.
I must admit that the delays have mostly been our own fault, and so far I’ve found Singapore’s bureaucracy to be efficient, and a considerable amount of activities can be done online. Had a one-liner been added to the EP application stating that “dependent’s passes must be applied for separately” we would have been 100% sorted by now. Still – ever onward!